Monday, January 30, 2012

Vicksburg 1863

I recently finished reading Vicksburg 1863 by Winston Groom and I was absolutely fascinated with this book. When it comes to the Civil War, living in Maryland offers a complex view of the war. Furthermore, I think our view may be somewhat distorted.

If you're dumb, you probably don't read this blog in the first place, but I'll give a short background to help you recall this from American history class. Many people consider Maryland a "Southern" state because it is below the Mason Dixon line. I say, "Whatever...". Maryland's economy is more like a northern economy. The weather is more like a northern state. The terrible drivers are more like a northern state.

Though Maryland was a slave state, she never seceded from the Union during the Civil War, or as they say in the South, 'the War of Northern Aggression'. This secession probably didn't happen because the Federal government is in our backyard in D.C. and many Southern sympathizers, like the Mayor of Baltimore and the Baltimore City Council, were arrested and held in prison until war's end. I wish we could think of a good reason to do that again!

Maryland's most famous battle, if not its only battle, was the Battle of Antietam in Washington County. The state did see some other minor skirmishes, but mostly the state provided the roads which Robert E. Lee, JEB Stuart, A.P. Hill, Jubal Early, and Longstreet used on their way to Harrisburg and Philadelphia, plans which were cut short at Gettysburg.

Living only 40 minutes form Gettysburg, we go up there at least once per year. It really is an interesting battlefield. There you will hear stories about how Gettysburg served as the turning point of the war. Never again did the Rebels try to cross the Potomac River. This may be true, but after reading Vicksburg 1863, I have a different opinion on the importance of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Interestingly, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred during the same weekend that Vicksburg surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant after a long siege. The difference between these two battles is that at Gettysburg, Lee's army was rebuffed and he lost a lot of soldiers and artillery that he could not spare. Vicksburg, on the other hand, saw the surrender of tens of thousands of soldiers AND artillery that were removed from the war. Additionally, capturing Vicksburg finally gave the Union control of the Mississippi River, thus giving the states in the central plains (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota) a way to ship out their goods.

I did not realize that the battle for Vicksburg took so long. The Union attempted to take this town on the bluff for many months, many times by water, from the north, then from the East. Thousands of soldiers on both sides lost their lives. Vicksburg was basically left in ruins after the siege, after which many towns and cities in the South also saw total destruction in the wake of General Sherman and his March to the Sea.

So, if you like history, or are even mildly interested in it, this book is really well written and is a great read. Check it out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No More Loaching

I am sad to report that both of my loaches have passed on and are now spirits of the sea. One died last weekend and the other died this weekend.

I'm not sure what killed the loach that died last week. The lady that gave the loaches to me said she had them for about 7 years. She also said that they were eels. I knew that they were not eels. I think they were dojo loaches, but I'm not totally sure. The scales seem bigger than the pictures of loaches that I saw. And I could not find any that were the beige-gray color that these were. If you know, please inform me.

I owned the loaches for another year and a half. Did the first one die of old age? Disease? Starvation? (honestly, I fed them!) Was s/he upset about the general economic conditions of this country and the total disregard of the government to get spending under control? Was s/he upset about the massive tax increases Martin O'Malley proposed? I know that this grieves me.

Whatever the cause of the first death, the second death was definitely caused by a lonely heart. The loaches were a bonded pair. They would lay together on the gravel. They would swim
together at the surface. Poor little babies. I'll miss you!

O'Malley Continues Plan of Destruction for Carroll County

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley really hates Carroll County. Really Hates. Hates. Why is that, you ask? Because Carroll County is about 80% Republican. Proof of his hatred is evident with his redistricting plan that was submitted and approved by the Maryland General Assembly. Merge a bunch of areas with Democratic-voting areas and you lessen the power of Carroll County. Actually, I guess we should be flattered. He's using a lot of effort to minimize us. 'Fear Carroll County' as they say in Annapolis.

So what is Martin O'Malley doing now? Well, he's proving once more why he's as likable as a poopy flavored lollipop. He released his 2013 budget proposal and it calls for closing another Carroll County facility and possible eliminating or moving the jobs to other areas that are not in Carroll County. Move the tax base and get the money into Democratic-voting areas like Jessup and Catonsville.

His newest plan calls for the elimination of the senior assisted living center at Springfield Hospital in Sykesville. There are currently 40 patients at this assisted living facility supported by 40 hard-working lower and middle class working Marylanders. Some of those jobs could be

transferred to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, while others could be transferred to Spring Grove in Catonsville, which is also another candidate for the chopping block.

O'Malley says the move could save $3.8 million, enough to fund his spending addiction for 42 hours. The elderly and lower middle class working people are expendable for that, right?

What's the next thing in Carroll County that O'Malley will attack? Private businesses? Schools? The Carroll County Agricultural Center?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Now In Randallstown - Tang Soo Do Karate

The old abandoned Woodsmith's Furniture in Randallstown, or more commonly known as the hamlet of Houghton, finally has a new occupant. Tang Soo Do Karate has moved in and they are looking for some serious customers! I saw 2 older overweight men in there practicing one evening, possibly waiting for new customers. Neither looked like they were named Tang. More like Antonio and George.

If you're interested in the history, prior to the Woodsmith's Furniture, which started in 1998, there was a hardware store, which opened in 1965. Before the hardware store it was an Eckard's grocery store. I'm not sure when that opened. Judging by the design of the building, I'd say the 1930's or 40's. I learned this by reading The Forgotten Corner, A History of Oakland Mill by Diana Mills Scott. Again - older folks who know please fill me in! And sign up for karate!

Moving in Eldersburg - Pure Fitness

With Tri-Star Martial Arts moving to the old Hardees on Liberty Road, that leaves a big empty spot in the Eldersburg Plaza. Pure Fitness, which basically has its starting price hard-coded on its sign, has announced that it will be moving into Tri-Star's location.

Now we need to find something to fill Pure Fitness' space. Perhaps they can put another nail salon or a Starbuck's there.

Closing in Eldersburg? Buffalo Wings & Beer

Word on the street is that Buffalo Wings & Beer in the Eldersburg Plaza will be closing soon. Another one bites the dust in the mighty metropolis of Eldersburg. I'm not sure what occupied this location before Buffalo Wings & Beer. I think it's been the same restaurant the entire time I've lived in Eldersburg, but I could be wrong. Would love to hear from those who haven't left this zip code in their entire life.

What's going to replace this establishment? I haven't heard. But I'll let you know when I hear it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Martin O'Malley Wants Counties To Stick It To Teachers

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is never one to shy away from passing the buck to someone else. You've seen his press conferences. Roll-up your sleeves and pass the buck. It looks so elegant.

In his struggle to maintain the ever-increasing state spending with less and less revenue to support it, he has to reach into his bag of tricks to find new ways to satiate his addiction. His latest trick is a true wolf in sheep's clothing. In one sentence O'Malley claims he is only nominally increasing the budget this year. He claims he's made billions of dollars in cuts, yet the budget numbers are bigger. If you were educated in Baltimore City's public schools, you probably wouldn't question that. But fortunately for you - you're smarter than that and you deserve better, right?

So in one sentence he is claiming that he's cutting state spending, yet in the next sentence he is demanding the transfer of millions of dollars in mandatory spending to cover state teachers' pensions onto the county governments. You have to admit it's fairly clever. Most people are only going to look at the bottom line. If you shift mandatory spending for one item entirely off of your balance sheet, that gives you that much more spending that you can plug in without much visibility. And tax payers won't even realize how much more they're paying in taxes until we're way into this.

The counties, on the other hand, boy are they getting it in the arse. If the counties are forced into spending millions of dollars per year to cover pension payments that they didn't cover previously, they are forced to into a position of increasing county taxes. Then they (the counties) look like the bad guy. And Martin O'Malley comes out looking like a petunia. Fortunately for this guy, I have a good nose and this flower smells like poop!

But all of this isn't the best part. In Martin O'Malley's press conference this week where he released the details of his budget for 2012, he defended his request to push pension costs onto the county because a) the counties are the ones negotiating the pension contracts (that part makes sense to me) and b) he said that this will give the counties the impetus to negotiate tougher with the teachers' unions to push for lesser terms.

Wow. Martin O'Malley, the big defender of the teachers and the proponent of education, all children can succeed, teachers and children are our future, etc..., he's basically saying that teachers' pensions are too high and the counties need to tighten the screws on them. Pass the buck. I'm not dealing with this. Being tough with the teachers will hurt my reputation. Screw the counties.

So be weary of the smoke and mirrors in Annapolis. Because what you don't know will hurt you. Unroll your sleeves and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Martin O'Malley Needs Spellchecker

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley continues to disappoint everyone in the thinking world. Most of the disappointment is related to his failed policies, his massive tax increases, and his out-of-control spending. However, I found another problem, one that is a very elementary problem and inexcusable. He needs to use spellchecker.

As you can see from this screen shot from his website, he cannot spell "Archived". Sad, sad, sad. Just another example of lack of accountability and an absolute disregard for the details. Hopefully when he reads my blog tonight (as I'm sure he does), he will see the problem and have it corrected immediately!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Protest

In a show of solidarity with Wikipedia and other websites protesting the government's attempt to take over the Internet with the backing of the entertainment industry, VoteNoMalley is blacking out today. Let's hope that Barbara Mikulksi and Ben Cardin agree.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How To Get Through to Apple

A friend of mine told me this story and I had to share it. It's priceless.

Here's a funny story. I bought a Xmas present from the apple store in Columbia mall last month. The sales guy said I had until Jan. 9th to return it in order to receive a full refund. I was planning to take it back tonight until I noticed the receipt said Jan 3rd was the last day to get a full refund. Before I made the trip to the mall tonight I called the store during lunch to see if I can still make a return. I call the Columbia store number on the receipt and get the whole automated menu of questions. The first thing it says is that it can understand full sentences and how may I help you. I said I would like to make a return. It then asked if the product was purchased online or in a store. After I told him/her that I purchased it in a store, it then directed my call to a service rep at the Columbia mall location. I was driving in the car so I let the phone ring for 10 minutes until I finally ended the call. I called back and I ended the call this time after about 10 rings. I called again and this time I told the f'ing robot that I would like to purchase 500 thousand Imac Pro's. It then asked was is it for personal or business use. I said business. It then directed my call to a service rep at the Columbia store. And after the first ring someone answered. Imagine that!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin O'Malley Calls Disagreers Stupid

If you don't agree with Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, then you're stupid. Why? Because he said so!

Defending his Soviet-style PlanMaryland where the state takes absolute control over planning decisions away from the counties by executive order, Martin O'Malley showed his arrogant and intolerant side, something we only see a few times per day. Funny how liberals say that conservatives are intolerant. When liberals get mad at you for disagreeing with them and then they mock you, that's not intolerance for some reason.

So what did Martin "Workers of the world unite" O'Malley say? He said, "The state's not going to be part of these stupid decisions, and we're not going to be subsidizing stupid decisions..." So if you want to subdivide your land and use well water, you're stupid. If you don't like his plan, you're stupid. If you don't agree with either of these statements, you're stupid.

Who are these stupid people? Well, if you live in Carroll County, you're definitely stupid. Montgomery County, you're not stupid. Eastern Shore? You and your septic tanks - you are stupid, indeed. Baltimore City? Genius! Western Maryland with all you property owners who want to develop it? You are a lot stupider than you think. Republicans and Conservatives, who are the majority of people that live in these districts? I'm sure you already realize that Martin O'Malley thinks you're stupid.

Are you offended that Maryland's Governor has the audacity to say that property owners, rural county government planners, Republicans, and Conservatives who respect the Constitution, free markets, liberty, and God make stupid decisions? I am. But I'm comforted knowing that we have a Governor who knows that I'm stupid and can make decisions for me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Martin O'Malley - Let's Raise the Sales Tax AGAIN!!!

Martin O'Malley. What a guy. There's not a tax hike he doesn't like. Alcohol tax. Sales tax. Another sales tax. Thumb tacks.

It's really frustrating to hear him talk lately. WBAL radio keeps playing a clip of him saying to the effect that we really don't have any other choice but to raise taxes because we've already cut over $6 Billion from the budget over the last few years and you get what you pay for. I wish the tax payers of Maryland got what they paid for.

The truth is, Martin O'Malley has NOT cut the budget by $6 billion. At least he hasn't cut the budget with regard to the amount of money the state spent the previous years with the exceptin of a $200 million cut between 2010 and 2011. But we're talking billions of dollars here, so millions in nearly insignificant. Here is a list of the total state spending (as reported on Red Maryland) on O'Malley's watch.

2008: 29.4 billion

2009: 30.7 billion

2010: 32.2 billion

2011. 32.0 billion

2012: 34.2 billion

I don't see any $6 billion decreases here. So where is this phantom $6 billion coming from? I suspect that every year Governor Martin "Leapin' Liar" O'Malley came up with a wish-list of the billions of dollars that he wants to spend, then cuts his own list and calls that 'cutting the budget'. "I want to spend $45 billion this year, but I'll reduce what I want to spend to $35 billion. Now I can say that I cut the budget by $9 billion!!!" Does that sound like his kind of crap?

Now O'Malley is running our of revenue to spend on his pet projects, so he wants to increase the state sales tax for the second time during his tenure as governor. I don't think any sitting governor of Maryland has ever raised the sales tax twice. What a wonderful dubious honor, Guv'nah!

O'Malley defends his massive tax increase proposals by saying that Maryland has the 40th lowest state sales tax in the Union. However, of those states with higher sales taxes, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Alaska, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Florida have no state income tax.

Additionally, according to the Tax Foundation, Marylanders are already burdened with one of the highest overall tax rates in the country, surpassed only by New Jersey (11.8%), New York (11.7%), and Connecticut (11.1%).

Now comes the best part. Martin O'Malley will spin his latest massive tax increase on the struggling middle class and poor working people of Maryland by saying it's "a penny increase". I had an long-standing battle with the liberal pundits on Wikipedia during the last state sales tax increase. I would write, "Anne Kaiser voted to increase the sales tax by 20%". It would then be changed to "Anne Kaiser voted to increase the sales tax by 1 penny." Technically, my statement is more correct. To make the second statement correct, you would need to add "for each dollar spent".

Now Martin O'Malley wants to "technically" raise the state sales tax by another 16.7%. The two sales tax increases will amount to a 40% increase in the sales tax since he's been governor. Liberal cannot argue with the math. But as they say, don't let the facts get in the way of good tax increase.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Moving in Eldersburg - Tri-Star Martial Arts

You'll recall from a previous post that an Asian martial arts company is moving into the old Hardee's on Liberty Road next to the Mr. Tire. I learned yesterday the Tri-Star Martial Arts business currently located in Eldersburg Plaza next to the Eldersburg Discount Liquors is the new occupant.

I was excited to learn that the old Hardee's was going to be occupied, but a little discouraged that the new occupant is from an existing business. It may be a good move for Tri-Star, but that leaves a fairly significant vacancy in the Eldersburg Plaza.

One of my friends who keeps up on all of the activity in Eldersburg said, "Going to be a hit to China House, Liquor Store, Cobblestone, CVS when 400+ people that go in each week for karate won't say let's get a bite to eat while we are here or pick something up at CVS because it is convenient or get some booze before going home"

He's right. Those businesses will be impacted by the loss of Tri-Star because of the fact that there is a lot of foot-traffic in and out of there. We'll see what happens.

Sander's Corner Restaurant - We Should Go There Sometime

On our numerous treks between Eldersburg and the rest of the family in Bel Air, we often traverse Cromwell Bridge Road. There is a quaint little restaurant called Sander's Corner. Every time we pass it one of us says, "We ought to stop and eat there sometime." We honestly have the best intentions of going there. Not anymore.

On our last trip back to and from Bel Air we noticed that a For Sale sign now sits in front of the building wrapped with an empty parking lot. It is such a sad sight. Perhaps a new owner will purchase the place and keep it the same. That never happens, but we can always wish.

Dangerous Towing?

Should I have been concerned while driving behind this tow truck on southbound I-795 the other day? The truck being towed is sort of riding diagonally behind the tow truck. I was a bit nervous, so I sped around them at the first opportunity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gold's Gym Coming to Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg???

Rumor on the street is that Gold's Gym is considering moving into the soon-to-be available Peebles department store in the failing Carrolltown Center here in Eldersburg. I have nothing to prove this other than the rumors I've heard on the street. Let's see how good the rumor mill is!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Visit Carroll County Historical Society - But Call First!

This is getting to be a running theme with this blog. You'd think I'd learn my lesson. Either I'm forgetful or stupid. I'll go with forgetful.

On one of the last days of my vacation between Christmas and New Year's I decided to go visit the Carroll County Historical Society. I did visit their website. Based on the days of the week and their hours of operation, I figured they would be open.

I wasn't sure what to expect. The website indicates several houses that can be toured. They were all built during the late 1700's and the early 1800's. I love these kind of buildings. If I was rich I'd totally buy one and pretend to live there now and then. But then again, I'm not a lawyer.

I arrived and go in one of the buildings. A nice older lady greets me and says that the administrative office is open, but the other buildings are closed and the historical library is closed. I really would like to visit the historical library. I imagine there to be lots of pictures and books of all historical things in Carroll County. Boo...

She tells me the Shops At Cockey's is open. Doesn't sound like my thing. What? Oh, it's not that? So I go to the Shops At Cockey's. It's one of those places where local artisans sell their wares. There's plenty of ready-to-make recipes, jewelry, paintings, and other hand-made items. There are books in the rear of the store. And there is a quasi-museum on the left side.

A lady comes out to greet me. Obviously I'm the first customer of the day. Perhaps the first customer of the month. I tell her I'm there to take in the historic elements of the home and settle my curiosity. I then ask her if it's okay to take pictures. Oh-boy! She turns into a nervous Nelly. "Why do you want to take pictures? Are you with the press? You're not trying to get me in trouble are you?"

I'm taken back by the string of questions. I tell her that some historical places do not allow you to take pictures, while others allow you to take pictures of you turn off the flash. She seems somewhat satisfied. She then begs the question again, "Why do you want to take pictures?" "Because I like taking pictures???" She finally unconvincingly concedes and tells me it is fine, though her voice quivers. I was starting to think there were some top secret items there. Perhaps even some stolen goods. Why the hysteria and paranoia??? Are you with the Confederates???

So here are the top-secret pictures I got as an undercover media person trying to get an older lady in trouble. The theme of the quasi-museum changes and currently it is toys.

This item is an old grocery store. It is in a metal container with cardboard items replicating real-life items of the era.

This kid-powered dump truck was pretty interesting. I had a fire truck of similar style, though certainly not as old.

This doll carriage is from the 1870's. Very ornate. Imagine buying this in a store today. It would cost several hundred dollars - if not more! Wal-Mart wouldn't even carry it because there aren't enough distorted plastic materials made by underpaid communist Chinese slave laborers.

This building is the historic Westminster Sherman-Fisher-Shellman House constructed in 1807. It was closed for the week.

This is the Carroll County Historical Society's building. It is also known as the Kimmey House, which was constructed in 1800. John Adams was President then. For those of you not good at math, that was a long time ago.

The house on the right with the green shutters is the Cockey's Tavern. To my surprise, it's not a gay brothel.

This building is a law firm I believe. It's a really interesting building. If you open the picture check out the ornate details.

This here is an old brick house on Main Street. I think it's also occupied by one of them thar' lawyer types.

This is also a law firm. Thank goodness for law firms and their desire to maintain historic houses.

You're never going to guess this, but this house is occupied by a law firm. At first I was taken back by the mint green color, sort of reminded me of some ice cream I wanted to get at Hoffman's, but if you click on the picture and note the contrasting green and dark grays and blacks and whites, I'm sure you'll come to appreciate it like I do.

So the next time you plan to to to Westminster to tour the Carroll County Historical Society's buildings, call first. Ugh....

Coming To Eldersburg - Another Asian Martial Arts Business

Currently not short on Asian martial arts businesses (please note that I did not say Oriental), Eldersburg is moving to further corner the market on such establishments.

The former Hardee's, former Auto Sound Innovations, has been undergoing some transformation. There are no signs indicating what the new establishment will be, so I first Googled it. The site seems to be owned by 1840 Liberty Road LLC, but the mailing address is in a residential section of Westminster.

The Maryland Property Database shows the primary structure being built in 2001, but we know that's not correct. When we moved to Eldersburg in 1999 it was already an abandoned former-restaurant. Also on that website I see that a former owner bought it in 1985. That sounds more reasonable. That may be when the Hardee's opened. Any older Eldersburgers know?

Since I couldn't find out any more information via the Internet, I did the next best thing - I drove to the site and asked one of the construction workers. "It's going to be a karate place." he says. So there you have it. I'm happy that the building is going to be used once again. More tax revenue for Marty O'Malley!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

When It's That Cold - Eat Ice Cream!

Remember that day last week where it got down to 11°? At least it got down to that here in Carroll County, also known as God's country. My daughter was in the hospital and my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a few days. My mother-in-law needed some things at Staples, my son wanted Mexican food for dinner, and my daughter wanted to find a laptop case. So the obvious decision was we needed to go to Westminster.

We ate dinner at this little hole in the wall named Papa Joe's. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, but I'll go back and get a picture. The food there was fantastic. I thought it was on Main Street, but we couldn't find it. I stepped into the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Office and asked if they knew where it was. The lady got up and said to just follow the wonderful smell. She then walked us to the back of the building where we found it. There are maybe 12 - 14 tables in there. The food was so good!

After dinner, we went to Staples and got our junk. My kids then wanted to know if we could drive by the hoarders house in Liberty Street. We had just been watching Hoarders and there was an episode where the woman lived in Westminster. It wasn't much to see at this point. The house looked abandoned and it was empty. There were plenty of "No Parking" signs in front of the house, so I imagine it became a bit of a spectacle, much to the neighbor's chagrin. But they did find some dead cats in the bathroom buried under a pile of used adult diapers. That's always cool!

Finally, my son says, "Let's go to Hoffman's!" First of all, it's either in the low 20's or the high teens at this point. I tell him he's crazy. Then I drive there. But I have to admit - Hoffman's ice cream is the best ice cream ever. So we stopped there got 4 ice cream cones. The peppermint is incredible. You should get some! Thus ended the coldest night so far this year.

Coming To Eldersburg - Another Starbucks

Not sure if the Starbucks in Safeway is going to close, but the old K Bank, which is the old Key Bank before it was sued and subsequently renamed, is undergoing some renovations to become either the new Starbucks or another Starbucks.

The location is certainly awkward. Getting their from westbound Liberty Road is easy enough. Just turn right. To get there going eastbound on Liberty, you have to turn left on Georgetown Boulevard, then circle into the parking lot to the far-corner. To get out, you cannot exit back onto Liberty Road, but have to exit from the terrible entrance onto Georgetown.

I suspect this location will not thrive, but I wish them luck. I certainly don't want to see a lot of empty building in our prosperous land. But I'm sure Martin O'Malley is happy at the reuse. It should fit into his PlanMaryland.

Heard at Home Depot

I seem to be a bit of an eaves-dropper lately. I went to Home Depot to return a non-functioning garbage disposal that I had installed in October, but has since stopped working. Fortunately, they allowed me to do an even exchange despite passing the 90 day return period (but by only a week or so).

So anyway, my son and I were coming out of Home Depot in Eldersburg and a man was walking toward us talking on his cellphone.

"Hi, yes, do you guys do drywall? Yeah, because my daughter had a party in her apartment and someone put their head through the wall."

My son looked up at me and asked, "What did he say?" Yes, we heard that correctly. Must have been quite a party!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Improvements? Isn't That an Opinion?

I posted this picture previously, but I got to thinking about it again, though this time from a different perspective. The sign says Lyons Mill Road Improvements. I've been watching the changes over the past few months. Traffic is terrible. Many home owners have lost 50-75% of their front yards due to the road-widening. Dozens of trees have been cut down. This is an improvement?

I've noticed this before on other projects. You can find it in papers such as the Baltimore Business Journal. When a field of trees is torn down and the land is leveled and storm water management is added, this is called "improvement". I understand that they shouldn't be calling it "destruction". That's certainly not good PR. Perhaps they should call it "urbanization". Because I don't really think that's an improvement.

Breaking in the New Health Insurance

You probably noticed that I haven't blogged all week. That would be because we spent a good part of the week at this place:

University of Maryland hospital. Obviously this is a picture I took in the fall. The best part about this most recent visit is we now have new health insurance at American Corrugated Amalgamated Conglomerates of America. I think we hit the annual deductible limit already. On January 3rd! Yay!!!

Fortunately, for the most part, everything is okay with my daughter. Just a lot of tests and monitoring. If it's not one thing it's 10 others.

I do have to mention this, though. I had to go to the pharmacy at the hospital. There was a bit of a line, so I stood in the line minding my own business. "Officer, I was just standing there minding my own business!" Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a short older African-American woman walk in and stand behind me. I heard her mutter something and I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or not, so I turned around to see. Instantly I knew she was a crazy person. When I turned around she looked up at me and made another unintelligible utterance. Regardless of whether she was talking to me or not, I decided that I wasn't going to listen.

A few minutes later a younger woman and her son walked in and stood in line behind her. The crazy lady turned around and the two women knew each other and immediately started talking. Now I could understand her a little better. Here is some of their conversation.

Your little boy had quite a party last week.
He sure did. We had fun.
Yay, me too. I don't think I made it home that night.

Fred asked me to move in with him, but he only got one bedroom. He said I could sleep in his room, but he only got one bed and I told him I ain't movin' in, but I'll come visit.

I got my check from Housing. It was for $1,000. I wanted a 3 bedroom place, but the check said I gots to get a 2 bedroom place. But if you talk to the man sometime he let you stay in a 3 bedroom.

When I moved in I ain't got no bed. I went back to Housing and they said they give me a voucher for a bed if I go out and price one. I was gonna go down Archie's and get a bed, but I din't.

Pardon my French, but that's f**king bullsh*t!!!

Finally I made it up to the counter and got away from the insanity. It's amazing to see how the common people live. I don't mean to say common to sound like an elitist. But people like her are more common than people like me at the hospital. The pharmacist told me it would be an hour and a half until my prescriptions would be ready. So I left and came back 90 minutes later.

When I returned, crazy lady was sitting there waiting. There was still a long line and the pharmacist was helping people as fast as he could. Crazy lady got up, went to the pharmacist and said, "Where's my goddamn medicine?"
It'll be ready soon. I apologize for the delay, but we've been really busy this afternoon. I'll call your name as soon as I see that it's complete.
What the f**k you mother f**kers doin' back there? Mother f**kers is pissin' me off!!!!
Okay, I'll let you know when it's ready.

I wanted to give him a gold star for maintaining his composure, but I suspect that he's heard that before.

Fortunately, we are back home and we no longer have to worry about older ladies and the mother-f**kers.

Happy New Year!
Who links to my website?
Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites